Friday, 30 November 2012

St. George's

Downtown St. George's
Grenada may be a small island but so often it feels huge. It's all a matter of perspective, really. Driving a few kilometres back home never felt like a hassle. Here the 7 kilometre bus ride into "town" can seem so inconvenient. However, Justin and I decided to make time this past weekend. We made a day of it as he had never walked leisurely through town. "Town" is the capital city of St. George's. The city is beautiful in an Anne of Green Gables sort of way. Anne outwardly is pretty but her true charm is found in her wit and perspective. Driving towards town leads you along two lovely waterfronts: Port Louis and The Carenage. Upon arrival at the bus port, sounds and smells assault you from all sides. People rush up and down the streets while vendors line every unoccupied space on the sidewalk with watermelons, onions, papayas, and tomatoes. Further up the street both the fish and meat markets conduct business with harried old women and businessmen alike. Our visit began deeper in town with a stroll to the market. A street block in the centre of town is dedicated to the selling of produce and goods but Saturday is market day. A giant open building bursting with stalls of souvenirs of all types is Saturday's market day attraction. I had never been into town on the weekend so I was delighted right along with Justin. Believe me, delighted is the correct word to describe how much fun the market was to peruse. Unfortunately, I forgot to whip out my camera. (I'll be back to town in a few weeks so no worries) Vanilla, nutmeg, candles, necklaces, dolls, towels, baskets crammed on tiny display tables were loudly accompanied by the vendors vying for my attention and dollar. I'm sure my huge grin only encouraged them. We also walked through the neighbouring veggie market vowing to return at the end of the day.

Tummy rumblies sent us to our lunch destination, BB's Crabbacks (a Tripadvisor recommendation). Our date was quickly changed when we had no option of a lunch special. Neither of us was prepared to pay $140EC for lunch but we recovered our disappointment by evolving lunch into a dessert date. Fruit pancakes and sweet potato pudding tasted divine at our waterfront table. We later found a little Chinese joint and indulged in some chicken chow mein to soothe the remaining hunger.


Quick return to the market for tomatoes and onions then on to our final stop: Fish Market. Honestly, we just wanted to check the market out. You never know what they'll have. They had red snapper. My husband loves red snapper. Fish isn't as inexpensive in Grenada as you would expect from a Caribbean island but at $7.50EC per pound, he wasn't going to pass on the opportunity.

Freshly caught Red Snapper

Filleting the Fish

A loud and hot reggae bus returned us home with our treasures and adventures. Both of us were quite satisfied with the day and plan to repeat it after school lets out. I plan on repeating this trip on a regular basis. Veggies proved to be more abundant and delicious than supermarket wares...and the city comes with its own special life. Besides, it's good to get out and experience true living in Grenada.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Holidays and Sunsets

[Sorry about the delayed blog post. Endless rainy days have caused internet malfunctions. Hopefully peace and sunshine days will resume soon.]

Roasted Chicken being carved by V.

Sometimes you need some fun. Work repeatedly becomes overwhelming and monotonous. Holidays and evenings out, in my opinion, are extremely important to lift spirits and combat the dread of work. Thanksgiving came at a good time for my husband as he's pushing toward the end of his first term in medical school. Work is hard and tiring right now. SGU students didn't have the day free of classes but we made up for it with an evening Thanksgiving feast. Five people graced our house with presence and loads of food! Pies, bread, green beans, sweet potatoes, soup, mashed potatoes, all came. I contributed cranberry sauce, a roast chicken, turkey, and tons of gravy. Food unites people. Sitting around a full table with friends is where life's best moments often happen.  Holidays, especially, create that special "together" feeling. My American friends missed their families but eating a celebratory feast from home makes the geographical gap that much smaller. Hopefully it'll keep the homesickness at bay until our friends return home. Canadian me was just glad for the great food and happy laughter in my home.

Savvy's at Grand Anse Beach
Is it not true that you often need a holiday from your holiday? Potluck Thanksgiving removed almost all of the stress of holiday cooking but I still wanted a break from the kitchen. Solution? Cabana Friday at Savvy's! I can't think of anything better than chillin' on the beach, drink in hand, watching the sun go down. Grenada's sunsets are spectacular in orange, purple, red. The colours reflect off of the deep blue ocean making the landscape come alive with colour. One day I'll purchase a nice camera so I can show you the beauty of it all. Most of out evening was spent limin' with one of Justin's friends. Drinks were wonderful, food disappointing, company great. To top off an already lovely evening, Cabana night climaxed with bongo drums and a bonfire! S'mores on the house means I may have stuffed my face with two... or six. We laughed and danced around the hot fire to the beat of the drums (along with several drunk British tourists). On our way home, the three of us stopped at Grenada's Wall Street to devour spicy fries and loiter on the steps of a bagel shop. Husband and I arrived home happy and ready for bed. Our fun continued the next day...but I'll save that story for later. 

Sunset in paradise 
Roasting s'mores!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

A feast awaits.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Again. If you read my previous post, you'd know that tomorrow will be my third Thanksgiving of the year. My attitude is less nervous the third time around because I will not be cooking alone. Three hungry American couples will fill my house with food, drinks, and laughter. Potluck style makes life easier and gives the opportunity for friends to try the unique holiday foods every family brings to the table. At my house, we partake of turkey and cranberry sauce like other people but my mom makes a wonderful addition to our meal: Giggle Juice!
Giggle Juice is the reigning beverage of holiday foods. All it is: a can or two of frozen peach or cranberry juice and ginger ale to taste. Simple but wonderful! If it's served from a punch bowl, it tastes 3x as good. This juice received its jovial name because mom says you can't help but giggle when you drink some. Of course us kids begin to giggle and so the name stuck. Sadly, I won't be making it this year for lack of frozen juice. Maybe Christmastime.

I'm sort of blackmailing myself with this post. Lately I've been a forgetful girl leaving my camera unused in my satchel. Tomorrow will not be one of those days! My camera will be busy flashing at friends and food alike. Can you believe the year is almost out? I need to capture the last bits of it.

The turkey and chicken is defrosting in the fridge, stuffing is ready to be made, and the gravy will flow.
To my American friends: Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Family Food.

Mixing in the vinegar
My mum, dad, and brother are coming to Grenada! I'm pretty excited for my family to be here during the holidays. Before I became sick last week, my mind visited my family in Canada and even my family further away in the Philippines. I am half-filipina and have loved the people, food, and culture since childhood. Especially the food. Filipino food wears the crown of all ethnic foods. Of course, I may be a little biased but never have I enjoyed eating more than when my mouth is full of bihon, adobo, lumpia, atchara, rice, and sinigang. (I'll upload recipes for all of those as I make them.) Grenada doesn't contain the most asian-friendly grocers but this tropical country carries huge varieties of tropical fruit. As I was browsing the vegetable market with friends, I noticed the piles of green papaya. I came home and told Justin of my tomato, guava, and papaya adventures. When I had finished, I suddenly blurted out "I can make atchara!" Two weeks later, I proudly walked in the door with a couple of large papayas ready for pickling. Atchara (also atsara) is a papaya "appetizer" made from sugar, vinegar, ginger, garlic, and several veggies. It's amazingly simple to make but so yummy to eat. Each province and area in the Philippines has its own version of this dish so recipes vary on preparation and ingredients. My family is from the West Visayan region of the Philippines so I found an ilonggo recipe and gave it a try. My recipe is missing a few traditional veggies due to unavailability but still, the results were wonderful. Give it a try.

Sliced papaya with seeds inside
Atchara Recipe


  • 2 large green papaya
  • 1 red pepper
  • 3 inch piece ginger
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 1 carrot stick
  • 3 cups white vinegar
  • 5 Tbsp white sugar
  • 5 Tbsp brown sugar
  • Salt
  • Storage container (I used clean pasta sauce jars)
Shredded papaya


  1.  Shred papaya, sprinkle lightly with salt, and squeeze excess water. Place in bowl and set aside.
  2. Place vinegar and both sugars in sauce pan. Bring to a boil to dissolve sugar. Take off heat and set aside.
  3. Julienne red pepper and ginger. Slice garlic and carrot.
  4. Mix veggies with papaya. Pour vinegar/sugar mixture into bowl. Mix well
  5. Place mixture in storage container ensuring the majority of vegetables are submerged in brine.
  6. Refrigerate for at least a week before serving.

My asian-at-heart husband loves this. He loves it almost as much as he loves me. It's not totally authentic but Justin thinks it improves with age. We enjoy it with any fried or cooked meats with rice and a splash of soy sauce. One, almost two jars have disappeared. Perhaps another trip to the market is in order.

My recipe was adapted from here.

Finished Product. So good!
Full jars waiting to be eaten

Justin had some good food to survive my week-long lieu from the kitchen. He had some culinary adventures of his own..but you'll have to ask him about it. 

I'm still recovering from Dengue. All that remains is a bit of fatigue. Surprisingly, I still love Grenada. Not surprisingly, I hate mosquitoes more now than I ever have before. A war has been declared with mosquitoes being my sworn rival. I'm planning on winning. :)

Monday, 12 November 2012


I'm back after quite a break. Unfortunately, it wasn't the fun kind of break teeming with pictures and stories. My break was one long adventure: Dengue Fever. 
My friends.
Dengue Fever, also known as bone-break fever, is a virus spread to humans via the bite of a daytime-feeding mosquito named Aedes aegypti. No vaccination or treatment exists. Though not fatal, Dengue causes a significant amount of back and abdominal pain to the sufferer, a high fever (104.6 was my record), terrible headache, pain behind the eyes, itchy rash, and dehydration. Fun. All of those symptoms sound horrific, and they were, but I had a very light case of Dengue. Being up and about in seven days is a blessing not to be taken lightly. My temperatures flared with this virus so I kept my digital thermometer by my side as my body went up and down on the heat scale. My friend Painol had my back during the painful bits. Calamine Lotion had the tail end of the adventure and is still being referenced once in a while. Two precautions taken during Dengue Fever is 1. avoid dehydration by drinking lots [fyi, buy straws. It makes the process less painful] and, 2. to avoid NSAID drugs and blood thinners (aspirin, ibuprofen, etc.). If you are lucky enough to contract Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever, the dangerous yet rare strain of Dengue, those drugs can be life-threatening. Of course, I didn't find this out until day 3. Thankfully, I didn't have the hemorrhagic version or I'd be a pretty miserable lady right now.
Aedes aegypti with the characteristic
white striped legs
I tried to find stats on how often Grenadians contract Dengue. Dengue resides in tropical and sub-tropical climates and like most third world countries, the actual incidence of disease is never accurately counted for entire populations. Apparently, a small outbreak occurred in 2010. All I was really able to find is that Dengue is not common(ly reported) and is nothing to be feared. Whew. 

Sadly, Dengue knocked me out of the running for my first 5K. I'm disappointed but still eager to get moving. Exercise will be back in my life but for now, standing to do the dishes for an hour is a great accomplishment. Give me a couple of weeks and I'll be totally me again.

I feel that I have passed my Rite of Passage and now feel that I can justly call myself a Grenadian. Well, sorta. In my head to myself and close friends, maybe.